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Nursing tube or feeding nipple

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or possible Delaware



8 1/4 in x 2 in x 2 in



Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Barbara Nowland Allison

Accession Number



“WILLIAM AND MARY COWGILL CORBIT / 1791" is engraved around the flange.


The feeder likely descended from William and Mary Corbit, to Daniel Corbit, to Mrs. Charles (Louisa A.) Corbit (1838–1901), to Eliza Naudain Corbit Lea (1861–1945), to Louise Corbit Lea Nowland (1898-1989), to the donor.


The utilitarian nursing tube or feeder is a specialized straw that allows a baby to suck through the nipple-shaped end stopped by a breast-shaped flange.  The rim of the flange folds back on itself, which reinforces it but, more important, eliminates a sharp edge. The fold is noticeably uneven, underscoring the practicality of the feeder. Similarly, a join midway in the stem suggests that it needed to be extended to reach the bottom of the container with which it was used. Given the absence of any maker’s marks on the feeder, its ownership in the Corbit family suggests manufacture in Delaware or Philadelphia.


Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 218.